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Teacher defends "Santa" remarks (Full, unedited statement)
Lebanon Daily News ^ | 12/23/05 | Theresa R. Farrisi

Posted on 12/26/2005 8:11:14 AM PST by Conservatrix

To the Editor:

"Last week I substituted at a local elementary school in Lebanon County. The lesson plan required me to read the 1882 poem “The Night Before Christmas” by Clement Clarke Moore to two classes of students. While I can appreciate the poem for its literary value, the subject matter is offensive to me, and the reading of this poem to the children imposed values upon me which are against my deeply held religious beliefs. I could not in good conscience present the notion of Santa Claus as a truth to the children, and stated so.

No public school teacher should be required to teach a belief, or custom, or religion that he or she believes to be false, or be required to pass those purported falsehoods onto impressionable children, without the right to state a disclaimer. Furthermore, freedom of speech and religion, no matter how unpopular the speech or against cultural norms the religion, are protected rights under the Constitution of the United States. A secular public school should not be propagating any kind of religion. The belief in Santa Claus as a divine, magical, omniscient, powerful, giving, loving father-figure, to which children are taught to make supplications and requests, is a religion indeed-- a distorted substitute for the Judeo-Christian God; a false form of Christianity; a zealously-protected American idol.

In presenting the poem, I gave the children quick historical background about the Santa Claus myth-- its evolution from the historic Nickolaus, Bishop of Myrna in Asia Minor, who died in 343 A.D., to its amalgamation with ancient Western pagan traditions of German, Scandinavian and Dutch origins, to the current manifestation in the secular Christmas culture of today. (Dutch children, for example, would put their wooden shoes out at night for “Sante Klaus” to fill with candies.)

The current Santa Claus figure was popularized in the late 19th Century by artist Thomas Nast of Harper’s Weekly Magazine, who depicted “Saint Nick,” not as an elf, but a rotund, pipe-smoking man in a red and white suit. This is the deity to which countless public school children today are taught to make supplications, and about whom they sing their many songs at annual public school Christmas programs.

If people are upset about the revelation to children that Santa Claus is a myth-- which all children who are taught this lie find or figure out eventually-- perhaps it is because Santa is that zealously-guarded idol of their own modern religion. Therefore, as a religion, let Santa be kept out of the public school classroom (no more “Dear Santa” letters to line those school hallways)--or perhaps, in the interest of “diversity,” make his mythical, oversized personage share equal representation in literature, and song, and Christmas programs, with the other Person of the season: the Lord Jesus Christ, God made flesh, God with us."


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Extended News; News/Current Events; US: Pennsylvania
KEYWORDS: absolutelywackaloon; allaboutme; badsanta; bahhumbug; bundleofjoy; campuscommies; campusradicals; christianity; coalinyoursock; crankymeanie; devilwearsredtoo; elohim; elvesinhell; feminazis; getalife; harridan; hormoneswouldhelp; leadpipes; mentalmidget; miserablewretch; needsagoodscrooge; nogiftsforyou; nutcaketeacher; nutjob; oldnickstnick; piousposer; pontificatrix; publicschools; religion; santa; santamyth; santasatan; satanclaus; scroogette; shrew; sourpuss; teacher; teacherfromhell; toobadkids; waronchristmas; waronpaganism; wheresmymartyrdom; xanthippe; xmastaliban
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To: purpleland
Santa is taught as a symbol of Christmas.

We look at cultures, and Santa is immersed in the culture. We also teach about Hanukkah.

51 posted on 12/26/2005 8:42:11 AM PST by Northern Yankee (Freedom Needs A Soldier)
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To: Conservatrix

She's a self-important knucklehead who needs to take herself a little less seriously...


52 posted on 12/26/2005 8:42:11 AM PST by Skip Ripley
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To: Cagey

"Six year olds? How many six year olds do you suppose still believe that Santa Claus is a real figure?
I hope the vast majority."


Pathetic. If you are a Christian, why do you want you children to believe in a falsehood? Why not teach them about Jesus who is the REAL person who is all-knowing, all-seeing, and rewards their good deeds?


53 posted on 12/26/2005 8:42:25 AM PST by Conservatrix ("He who stands for nothing will fall for anything.")
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To: Conservatrix
"He sees you when you're sleeping; he know's when you're awake; he knows when you've been bad or good."... gee, that sound like the God you say you believe in.

Gawd, you must have had a miserable Christmas.

54 posted on 12/26/2005 8:42:44 AM PST by Howlin (Defeatism may have its partisan uses, but it is not justified by the facts. - GWB, 12/18/05)
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To: Conservatrix

I am a grade A dope. I grew up and failed to connect the dots. Santa is a part of Christianity? I missed that in Bible school, I missed that in the public school. I blame the sloppy public education system for failing to teach me this fact, while educating me on the merits of earth day, kwanza and diversity. What excuse does the church have for failing to properly educate its youth about the Santa-Christianity connection?


55 posted on 12/26/2005 8:43:55 AM PST by tarepeter
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To: Lurker

"Santa Claus is not being 'taught as religion'. Noone is being told to pray to Santa Claus, noone is being told that Santa Claus created the world, and noone is being bussed to the Universal Church of Santa Claus on the taxpayers dime."

You are absoultely worng. "Dear Santa, I would like...." What are you doing? You are asking an invisible being for something. THAT, my friend, is the definition of prayer. Children are being taught that Santa "sees you when you're sleeping, knows when you're awake, knows when you've been bad or good." Those are attributes of a divine being.


56 posted on 12/26/2005 8:44:48 AM PST by Conservatrix ("He who stands for nothing will fall for anything.")
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To: Eagles Talon IV

If I were a lawyer and parent of a kid for whom she ruined the idea of Santa, I'd sue her crabby @ss just for the fun of it.


57 posted on 12/26/2005 8:44:52 AM PST by demkicker
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To: Conservatrix
Pathetic.

You sound so terribly threatened and to me, that is "pathetic".

58 posted on 12/26/2005 8:44:52 AM PST by Cagey (Some men are Baptists, others Catholics, my father was an Oldsmobile man.)
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To: MineralMan

I have two 7's going on 8, and I too was a child at one time.

I think I know from first hand experience what they believe and how their beliefs will evolve and serve them as they grow and gain in understanding of symbols of love and caring for others.

Our house will ALWAYS be a more special place and they will ALWAYS feel a little more special because, as small kids, they believed in miracles, they believe that one occurrs here in our family room, and they believe a good loving figure validated their wishes and their goodness and worthiness with his magic powers.... one night a year.

Even the charity gifts are delivered to poor families in the projects here by a volunteer dressed as....Santa Claus. For one moment of one night each year, anyone of any age can feel universally loved and cared for and worthy of receiving a loving miracle.

At least, that's how I grew up and how I hope they will chose to raise their own kids someday.

I also think I am the best guide for my kids about how and why our family chooses to celebrate Christmas, not some substitute teacher with a chip on her shoulder about the mythical "Judeao-Christian God", Santa Claus as a "symbol" of Him, and the misery she feels at others' "misguided" beliefs. Somehow I think "Santa" skipped this teacher as a child. Poor sad little girl growing up with "reality"... now a poor sad bitter woman existing only in "reality".


59 posted on 12/26/2005 8:45:14 AM PST by silverleaf (Fasten your seat belts- it's going to be a BUMPY ride.)
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To: Lurker

Just another egotistical, self centered a$$hole with a chip on her shoulder.........


60 posted on 12/26/2005 8:45:15 AM PST by joe fonebone (Thin skinned people make me sick!!!)
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To: Conservatrix

"Scripted by the ACLU..."

No, scripted from the heart and conscience of someone willing to live by what they believe to be true.


*Scripted! PRESCRIPED! Too contrived and very timely! Right out of the neoPavlovian leftist workshop. She is a cloned ideologue - pooped-out of the brainwash lab.
Key words and code words prove it.


61 posted on 12/26/2005 8:45:34 AM PST by purpleland (Vigilance and Valor! Socialism is the Opiate of Academia)
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To: Howlin
Thanks


BTW ... I'm gonna say this, and I don't care if I do raise some hostile eyebrows. ;)


Merry Christmas!





62 posted on 12/26/2005 8:45:38 AM PST by G.Mason
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To: Conservatrix
Next you'll be saying that Santa is really an anagram for Satan.

Keep your religious philosophy to yourself in the classroom or better yet get a job at a Kingdom Hall someplace. You'll fit right in with 'em.

If you think the lesson plan is somehow offensive to your delicate little sensibilities then show some real courage and quit.

L

63 posted on 12/26/2005 8:46:03 AM PST by Lurker (Let everything that's to be done be done by the herd.)
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To: Conservatrix

Wow! Look at all the bile and venom this woman's actions have brought out, all because she told children about the MYTH of Santa Claus.

She's "scum", a "b***h", and *gasp!* a "liberal"! Some of these same folks, when confronted with the hypothetical you offered about abortion would applaud a substitute teacher for refusing to teach that abortion is okay, according to the "lesson plan" but Santa, whoa! That "b***h" should have stuck with the lesson plan because it's okay to teach children about a jolly fat guy in a red suit who "sees you when you're sleeping, knows when you're awake, knows when you've been bad or good so be good for goodness' sake" who delivers whatever they want to them, all in one night!

She really touched a sacred cow, this time, eh? She better not be teaching near Easter and tell the truth about that character or the fur is REALLY going to fly!


64 posted on 12/26/2005 8:46:07 AM PST by Sister_T (Kenneth Blackwell for Governor of Ohio!)
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To: Howlin

"If she said the same about God, because she was an atheist, or that homosexuality is a good life style, it would be okay because she believed it to be true?
Finally, somebody got it! "


No, somebody, didn't get it. She is a conservative, republican, pro-life, Christian who is not for homosexual marriage or promoting homsexuality. She could not teach those things to children either, if she was required to teach it.


65 posted on 12/26/2005 8:46:28 AM PST by Conservatrix ("He who stands for nothing will fall for anything.")
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To: Conservatrix
Are you kidding?

"He sees you when you're sleeping; he know's when you're awake; he knows when you've been bad or good."... gee, that sound like the God you say you believe in.

You can't be serious?

Students can make distinction between Santa Claus, and that of the birth of the Christ child in a manger.

They don't mix the two up.

The teaching of Santa is not religion. Santa is a cultural icon, and therefore we continue to teach about the culture the students are immersed in.

I can't believe I am having to argue this point.

66 posted on 12/26/2005 8:47:27 AM PST by Northern Yankee (Freedom Needs A Soldier)
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To: Howlin

You still cannot refute that Santa is :

all-knowing
All-seing
rewarding the good
giving gifts

just like ..... God himself???????


67 posted on 12/26/2005 8:47:48 AM PST by Conservatrix ("He who stands for nothing will fall for anything.")
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To: MineralMan

Santa Claus is a mythological figure. Santa does not really exist. It is the idea of Santa Claus that is attractive. At age six, this will not be the first time these kids will have been exposed to the fact that Santa is not real. Other kids will have disabused them of that fact already, I guarantee.

Woa woa woa. There is to a santa claus. Where is the moderator to kicked this guy off our site.


68 posted on 12/26/2005 8:47:57 AM PST by Psycho_Runner (Whatever)
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To: Conservatrix
1) what public school is doing by promoting Santa Claus is promoting a form of religion

Actually she just keeps digging deeper and deeper.

69 posted on 12/26/2005 8:48:15 AM PST by Diddle E. Squat
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To: Sister_T
She shouldn't be teaching in a public school She should be teaching in a private religious school.

I suggest the "Holy Church Of Uptight Bitties".

L

70 posted on 12/26/2005 8:48:15 AM PST by Lurker (Let everything that's to be done be done by the herd.)
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To: Lurker

agreed. I bet she's one of those mixed nuts who says "herstory" instead of "history".


71 posted on 12/26/2005 8:48:54 AM PST by Rakkasan1 (Peace de Resistance! Viva la Paper towels!)
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To: BibChr

We agree rarely, but this time we agree. For all the hoopla raised this year about Christmas and the lack of interest by many in the real reason for that celebration, it seems odd that so many want to perpetuate the silly fairly tale of Santa Claus.

A lot of conservative Christians oppose the entire Santa Claus myth specifically because it masks the true meaning of Christmas.

This teacher, apparently, is one of those who consider the Santa Claus story, as it is told to children, is not consistent with Christmas.

So, she explained the origins of Santa Claus to the students. And related it to Christmas as celebrated by Christians.

So, what do we have here: A bunch of the same people who were decrying the "War on Christmas" slandering a woman who is pointing out that Santa is not a deity, nor is Santa real.

"Twas the Night before Christmas" makes no mention of Jesus' birth. It doesn't mention the reason Christmas is celebrated at all. It's a strictly secular poem. It's about gifts and that sort of thing, and venerates a mythical character that distracts from the real story of Christmas.

I'm an atheist, and don't believe in the divinity of Jesus in the first place, but I'd like to see some consistency from those who do. Santa and this poem are purely secular, as presented here.

You want the "War on Christmas?" The commercial use of Santa Claus is at the heart of it. "The Night before Christmas" has nothing to do with Christianity, nor with the reason Christmas is celebrated.


72 posted on 12/26/2005 8:49:20 AM PST by MineralMan (godless atheist)
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To: Northern Yankee

"You can't be serious?Students can make distinction between Santa Claus, and that of the birth of the Christ child in a manger.They don't mix the two up."

Oh yes they do, my friend. I just heard the story of a man who, when he was young, was told finally that his parents lied to himn about there being a Santa Claus. The then-boy replied, "Dad, when are you going to tell me Jesus isn't real also"?


73 posted on 12/26/2005 8:49:30 AM PST by Conservatrix ("He who stands for nothing will fall for anything.")
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To: Conservatrix
You have the attributes of someone who's off her meds.

L

74 posted on 12/26/2005 8:49:52 AM PST by Lurker (Let everything that's to be done be done by the herd.)
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To: silverleaf
"Where does the "Night Before Christmas" get religious? Rather a classic poem, isn't it? Ever read a poem that contained elements of fantasy or faith that you don't believe in, just for literary value??"

I agree completely. It's a literary work, like so many others, and quite entertaining! The whole thing is totally absurd. This "teacher" seems to have some very peculiar "issues". I'm just sorry that she managed to upset these poor children right before Christmas, that's the real shame of it all.
75 posted on 12/26/2005 8:49:52 AM PST by khnyny (Merry Christmas)
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To: Conservatrix

Okay, the teacher is a Christian, conservative republican. I like the way she delineated the history of Santa Claus, how he's depicted in other countries. That's fine. But she crossed a line because these were small kids, 6 and 7, albeit that they probably found out the truth on the school bus. If one child raised his hand and demanded to know if there really was a Santa Claus, she could have finessed the question, and frankly, there's a little Santa Claus in all of us and not just at Christmas. That spirit of caring and giving and generosity toward others. Katrina and the tsunami come to mind.)


76 posted on 12/26/2005 8:50:01 AM PST by hershey
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To: silverleaf
Rather a classic poem, isn't it? Ever read a poem that contained elements of fantasy or faith that you don't believe in, just for literary value??

Well put.

77 posted on 12/26/2005 8:50:39 AM PST by TankerKC (Who will hold the NYT accountable for knowingly releasing classified info?)
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To: MineralMan

I am amazed that one of the few people who acutally gets the point of this whole thing is an atheist.

Thanks for getting it.


78 posted on 12/26/2005 8:50:39 AM PST by Conservatrix ("He who stands for nothing will fall for anything.")
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To: Conservatrix; Howlin
Pathetic. If you are a Christian, why do you want you children to believe in a falsehood? Why not teach them about Jesus who is the REAL person who is all-knowing, all-seeing, and rewards their good deeds?

People who get their knickers in a wad over Santa seriously need to get a life, and most certainly shouldn't preach to fellow Christians. MYOB.

79 posted on 12/26/2005 8:51:17 AM PST by demkicker
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To: Conservatrix

My impression from the original article was that she was a fool and a prig. She has now confirmed that initial impression, at length, in her own words.

Kudos, Theresa. The world needs straight-shooters like you.


80 posted on 12/26/2005 8:51:39 AM PST by RichInOC (Stupidity is its own punishment...but not as often as it should be.)
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To: hershey

"she could have finessed the question, and frankly, there's a little Santa Claus in all of us and not just at Christmas. That spirit of caring and giving and generosity toward others. Katrina and the tsunami come to mind.

That, my friend, is the spirit THE LORD JESUS CHRIST, not Santa Claus. "Thou shalt have no other gods before me." YOu cannot bleive in other gods if you love Jesus Christ .


81 posted on 12/26/2005 8:52:12 AM PST by Conservatrix ("He who stands for nothing will fall for anything.")
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To: MineralMan
How many six year olds do you suppose still believe that Santa Claus is a real figure? I gave that nonsense up at age 4, for pete's sake.
Wow, ain't you da' man. And now you're an atheist. Go figure.
82 posted on 12/26/2005 8:52:44 AM PST by oh8eleven (RVN '67-'68)
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To: Conservatrix

Your analogy is not correct. There is a lot of difference between poetry and life/death situations. You are mixing apples and oranges saying they are the same. Wrongo here!! Now the perfect analogy would be asking if you would teach that James Whitcomb Riley's poem, "Little Orphan Annie" was written to scare children into behaving correctly, or to tell a childhood fantasy about gobblins and ghosts? Both poems, "Night Before Christmas" and "Little Orphan Annie" were written to enhance childrens' fantasies, no more and no less. To make it anything else is not to be tolerated nor accepted by the general public. Hence, your rebuke is not correct.


83 posted on 12/26/2005 8:53:16 AM PST by geezerwheezer (get up boys, we're burnin' daylight!!!)
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To: Conservatrix
No public school teacher should be required to teach a belief, or custom, or religion that he or she believes to be false, or be required to pass those purported falsehoods onto impressionable children,

Is there any doubt in anyone's mind that she has told these youngsters that the US invaded Iraq to get their oil?

84 posted on 12/26/2005 8:53:18 AM PST by RGSpincich
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To: demkicker

"People who get their knickers in a wad over Santa seriously need to get a life, and most certainly shouldn't preach to fellow Christians. MYOB"

Quote the contrary, it is the mainstream popular culture who is in a wad oiver someone who disagrees with the mainstream.


85 posted on 12/26/2005 8:53:35 AM PST by Conservatrix ("He who stands for nothing will fall for anything.")
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To: RGSpincich

"Is there any doubt in anyone's mind that she has told these youngsters that the US invaded Iraq to get their oil?"

No, she did not. She voted for George Bush and is a conservative republican Christian.


86 posted on 12/26/2005 8:54:35 AM PST by Conservatrix ("He who stands for nothing will fall for anything.")
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To: Conservatrix
This borderline agnostic gets it as well. There is a certain class of extremely consvervative Protestants who not only don't like the Santa Claus myth but don't celebrate Christmas at all because they see it as a Pagan Holiday. They simply acknowledge the birth, death and Resurrection of Christ all year long.
87 posted on 12/26/2005 8:54:49 AM PST by Borges
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To: Conservatrix

"Children are being taught that Santa "sees you when you're sleeping, knows when you're awake, knows when you've been bad or good." Those are attributes of a divine being."

First of all, the children are NOT BEING TAUGHT that Santa...it's NOT in the curriculum! The above named attributes are the attributes of excellent parents.

What sophomoric (prescribed and stale) reasons you provide.



88 posted on 12/26/2005 8:55:19 AM PST by purpleland (Vigilance and Valor! Socialism is the Opiate of Academia)
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To: Conservatrix

If this sanctimonious, tight-*ss b*tch had to write a paragraph without using the words "I", "me", or "my", she would have nothing to say.

Guess what, sweetie, it ain't about YOU. You were asked to do a simple task in a first grade classroom, not sit there and pontificate on your beliefs.

This person is the kind who gives "Christians" a bad name.


89 posted on 12/26/2005 8:55:40 AM PST by GadareneDemoniac
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To: geezerwheezer

"Little Orphan Annie" was written to scare children into behaving correctly, or to tell a childhood fantasy about gobblins and ghosts? Both poems, "Night Before Christmas"


wrong argument. No children are being taught to ask Little Orphan Annie for Christmas presents. Santa is being taught as a God substitute.


90 posted on 12/26/2005 8:56:23 AM PST by Conservatrix ("He who stands for nothing will fall for anything.")
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To: Conservatrix

Look, if you or anyone else doesn't want your children to believe in Santa for a few short years of their childhood, that's fine. But don't go preaching to those of us who do, and don't you dare get out of your parental bounds and tell children, who are not yours, about personal Christmas traditions that none of your business.


91 posted on 12/26/2005 8:58:46 AM PST by demkicker
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To: GadareneDemoniac

"Guess what, sweetie, it ain't about YOU. You were asked to do a simple task in a first grade classroom, not sit there and pontificate on your beliefs. This person is the kind who gives "Christians" a bad name."

I think if a person has the courage to stand up to what they belive, that is admirable. The story is about being forced to teach something against one's religous beliefs in a secular school. Why would any Christian want to teach their children that some guy in a red suit who smokes a pipe is the one who anwers their prayers, gives them their presents on Christmas, and rewards their deeds because he sees them and hears them all the time?


92 posted on 12/26/2005 8:59:21 AM PST by Conservatrix ("He who stands for nothing will fall for anything.")
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To: MineralMan

My 5 year old and 10 year old still believe. I tell them that Santa and Jesus are friends.

We put out a piece of Jesus' birthday cake for santa instead of cookies. If a teacher EVER thought it their right to tell my kids that Santa doesn't exist, I would be so mad.

A few years ago, I was unemployed at Christmas time and told my kids that the only way we were going to have presents was if God and Santa got together and decided to provide it for them. We woke up to a black trash bag on my porch filled with presents, and no idea where it came from. We have also been blessed by the generosity of our fellow freepers.


93 posted on 12/26/2005 8:59:55 AM PST by trussell (Work for God...the retirement benefits are great!)
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To: Conservatrix

This substitute teacher is a good example of the undereducated product of our liberal colleges. These young women have earned teaching degrees so they can go into our public schools and tear down American traditions. When they are not eroding American traditions, they are giving our adolescent boys hands-on learning experiences in sexual education.


94 posted on 12/26/2005 9:00:00 AM PST by abclily
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To: demkicker

"don't you dare get out of your parental bounds and tell children, who are not yours, about personal Christmas traditions that none of your business."

Read the letters. Someone is being asked to promote YOUR belief, not the other way around.


95 posted on 12/26/2005 9:00:27 AM PST by Conservatrix ("He who stands for nothing will fall for anything.")
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To: Conservatrix; eyespysomething
Last week I substituted at a local elementary school in Lebanon County

The good news is that Theresa is a substitute. Kids never pay attention to the substitutes.

96 posted on 12/26/2005 9:01:01 AM PST by SittinYonder (That's how I saw it, and see it still.)
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To: Conservatrix
Santa is not invisible. I saw him at my kids Christmas party.

Here's a clue for you babe. Don't teach in public schools. You'll just get your panties in a bunch over stuff that makes you look like a nutjob.

Now, go find yourself a nice teaching post at a private religious school and you won't be exposed to the evil horror that is Santa Claus.

Geez....what a nutball.

L

97 posted on 12/26/2005 9:01:08 AM PST by Lurker (Let everything that's to be done be done by the herd.)
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To: Conservatrix
Image hosted by Photobucket.com every parent should demand their child be moved to another teacher and next years class should demand a different teacher as soon as they know their child is assigned to her room...
98 posted on 12/26/2005 9:01:10 AM PST by Chode (American Hedonist )
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To: trussell

I tell them that Santa and Jesus are friends.


IDOLATRY!
"Thou shalt have no other gods before me."
Santa does not exist, and Jesus is your Lord, and you tell your chidlren a lie?
Get out your Bible and read it sometime.


99 posted on 12/26/2005 9:01:23 AM PST by Conservatrix ("He who stands for nothing will fall for anything.")
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To: abclily

Read further. The teacher in question is a Conservative Christian.


100 posted on 12/26/2005 9:02:11 AM PST by Borges
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